Raised on wood piles, this traditional Batak house in Sumatra, Indonesia, has withstood floods and an earthquake and is part of “Learning from the Vernacular,” an exhibit at Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, on view through September 29. When it comes to structures, each building material functions best in specific geographic locations, whether the plains of China’s Huang river or the alpine valleys of Switzerland.
“Learning from the Vernacular” looks at how architecture around the world has evolved to adapt to the surrounding environment, climate, and available building materials. Projects will be grouped by location and subdivided by the ecological concerns they tackle.
Among the exhibit’s 40 models and many images, some 20 countries will be represented, including a Nagaon, India, house by Studio Mumbai , an education complex by CS Studio Architects in Cape Town, and a cathedral in Cartagena, Colombia, by Simón Vélez . In fact, Vélez, a champion of bamboo architecture, was at the opening for a discussion with exhibit curator Pierre Frey, who has chosen the museum’s Dome, built in 1975 by Richard Buckminster Fuller and T.C. Howard, as the show’s site, an excellent example of vernacular building traditions.
A local project by Studio Mumbai. Photo by Helene Binet.